Is €12,000 malus for importing my SUV to France correct?

Penalties on imported vehicles – even if not new – are possible for worst ‘polluters’

Larger, non-electric, vehicles such as the 2020 Toyota Hilux (pictured above) are likely to face extra charges if imported into France

Reader Question: I have a 2020 Toyota Hilux that I bought from outside the EU. As I live in France, I need to register it here and found a professional to deal with it.

The reader continues: “I have paid thedouanes (customs) but now ANTS registration centre says it wants €12,000 for a malus penalty. Can this be right? They said they calculated it based on a WLTP of 236g/km.”

It is true that vehicle import costs can be high, especially when related to vehicles coming from a non-EU country.

Firstly, there is French import VAT to be paid at 20%.

In some cases, an additional 10% import duty can also be payable, depending on treaties.

This applies, for example, for vehicles from the US (and rises to 22% for pickups with long trailer sections) but not for vehicles from the UK as long as they have been made mostly there or the EU.

There are also fees payable to register the car with French plates, which vary from one region to another and are multiplied by the car’s power in CV (‘tax horsepower’).

Eco-friendly penalties apply to many imported cars

As you mentioned, there is also a ‘malus’. This is a penalty levied on powerful and ‘polluting’ non-electric vehicles.

A 2020 Toyota Hilux is a high-powered vehicle likely to tot up a high malus.

Within France, this is only payable on sales of new cars, however it also applies on the first registration of an imported car, even if it is not new.

The WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure) relates to a testing procedure to check fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. From our research 236g/km looks appropriate for a 2020 Toyota Hilux.

Malus penalties have varied over the years, and with second-hand imported cars officials use the penalty grid that was in force in the year the car was put into circulation.

The grid in force from March 2020 can be seen here, and it shows a fixed amount of €20,000 applied above a level of 212g/km.

Read more: Cars, licences, driving: what changes in France in 2024?

Some reductions are possible

Reductions are applied on the final bill related to how long ago the vehicle was first put on the road.

As part of the calculation, 10% is deducted from this penalty per calendar year, so four years in your car’s case.

This gives a reduction of €8,000, leaving €12,000 to pay.

If you think the amount is still incorrect, the usual procedure with taxes is to pay and then put in a claim for a refund or reduction, including any supporting documents.

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